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Nicolas Rolin's Commission of a Paiting

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Nicolas Rolin was born of a bourgeois family in 1376 (Harbison 2012). He became the chancellor to Philip the Good (Duke of Burgundy). He became a very important figure in the politics because of his various roles for the duke. Although he was very wealthy he was not very noble. The people in the society had a negative image of him as he placed power and wealth before all and would not let anyone take his place. (Bord 1898). Although not very noble, he still displayed some acts of charity, for instance the Hotel-Dieu in Beaune. Even his charitable acts are believed to be acts of Rolin exercising his materially rich and ostentatious taste (Bord 1898). He funded the church Notre-Dame du Chatel where he was baptized and restored it. He later became the official patron of this church. He also bought a house next to the church in order to be closer to it (Placido 2008). On the southern side of the chapel, Rolin created a family oratory dedicated to St Sebastian (Soulard 2006). In this room he had other pieces of art that he commissioned from other artists. There are many arguments about the reasons why Rolin chose to have this painting made. The main argument is to determine whether Rolin was really feeling guilty and seeking piety from the church by making donations or was this his way of exhibiting his wealth and power (Harbison 2012)? It is believed that this painting was commissioned for both reasons. According to Gaston Bord, this painting was commissioned for two main
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